A Third Way for QA systems? Navigating external quality demands and meaningfulness for teachers and students
Quality Management for Responsible Higher Education
Philipp Pechmann et al, VIA University College, Denmark
Single presentation - 30 Minutes
Higher education institutions (HEIs) face a challenge in navigating between external demands to account for and measure quality of the educational offering that should contribute to societal needs on the one hand and providing tools for quality improvement perceived as meaningful by the HEIs’ own members on the other hand. We present a case study of VIA University College (VIA) in Denmark, where we translate Dreyfus’ skills acquisition model to the institutional level of QA systems. Doing so, we are able to analyze VIA’s institutional capacity and development regarding QA as well as the challenges VIA faces when navigating between demands of external accountability, societal responsibility and internal meaningfulness and trying to live up to competing conceptualizations of quality. We build a 5-stage-model of quality assurance (QA) development in HEIs that distinguishes between QA at a novice, advanced beginner, competent, proficient and expert level in order to identify what factors are important when HEIs want to move from one level to the next. Furthermore, we use the case study to discuss what being an expert in QA (=reaching level 5) would entail for a HEI and what challenges HEIs face when moving up to the expert level. Finally, we make suggestions for how to tackle challenges and demands in the pursuit of identifying a third way for QA systems.